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Monday, 06 February 2012 12:50

Coopersville wastewater upgrade makes way for dairy plant: Triangle adds infrastructure capacity for more industrial use

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Coopersville wastewater upgrade makes way for dairy plant: Triangle adds infrastructure capacity for more industrial use Courtesy photo
COOPERSVILLE — An upgrade to Coopersville’s wastewater treatment facility will make way for the new Continental Dairy plant to begin facility testing in February and start producing in spring.

Triangle Construction’s $6.7 million project is a large part of an $8.8 million investment in area water and sewage systems. Primary funds for the project come from low-interest loans through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Agency. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. kicked in another $2 million.

Improvements to the facility will change the current lagoon system to a lagoon plus mechanical system, which is expected to mitigate any major improvements for the next 30 years. Upgrades also included two new clarifiers; flow control structures; two aerated ponds and blowers; and a new laboratory, office and equipment building, among other enhancements.

The original system, built in 1971, had a capacity of treating 900,000 gallons per day and currently handles 450,000. The expansion will be able to handle up to 1.9 million gallons per day, 750,000 of which will come from the Continental plant. This leaves a processing capacity of 700,000 gallons.

“At some point in time, you’re going to have a revitalization, and you want your community to be in a position to accept growth,” said City Manager Steven Patrick. “We’ve been postponing upgrades for a while now.”

Patrick said that when dairy byproduct is introduced into the wastewater system, some processes in aeration of wastewater have to change. The opportunity to add future capacity came with those needed changes, he said.

Because the water discharged from the plant goes to the Grand River, strict environmental regulations make construction planning on wastewater facilities a principal concern.

“As far as complexity goes, the plant is completely operational while we’re working,” said Dustin Hemmes, project manager for Triangle. “The project had to be separated into several different phases.”

Where one piece moves in, water has to move out and vice versa. Hemmes said Triangle worked with the city to plan water displacement and guard against any environmental concerns. Even during the construction, crews timed various phases to avoid gaps in the system so that the effluent continued to meet rigid purity tests.

Josh Szymanski, Triangle’s project engineer and chief estimator, said other construction companies have tried to move into the municipal wastewater market, but it’s not as easy as it looks.

“It’s not something you can just move into with a truck and a ladder,” Szymanski said.

In the last 10 years, Triangle has built 20 wastewater treatment facilities. The company hopes to stay on edge of the technology for these types of builds, as it is a strong component of its portfolio, Szymanski said.

Read 2597 times Last modified on Sunday, 12 August 2012 21:36

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